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Korea and the OECD: A decade of progress

Korea’s work-life balance Development and Korea: policies for sustainable growth Yes we could

Okyu Kwon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economy, Korea

Hee-Jung Kim, Minister of Gender Equality and Family, Republic of Korea

In 1996 just when the Korean government took the initiative and worked hard to join the OECD, some media and civil society organisations were reluctant to extend their support. They worried, saying that it would be too premature for Korea to join the rich man’s club and would cause us great losses.

Of the abundant resources given to mankind, what is the most underused resource of our time? Without a doubt, women! Kim, Hee-Jung (2015), “Korea’s work-life balance policies for sustainable growth”, OECD Yearbook 2015

Kwon, Okyu (2006), “Korea and the OECD: A decade of progress”, OECD Observer No 257, October

We’ll start with a close-up of a woman on her knees. She seems to be scrubbing some tiles. We track back and see that in fact she’s scrubbing the tyre tracks off a forecourt. Back a bit more and we see that she and her colleagues are in front of a huge conference centre. It’s covered with banners in Korean and English announcing the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, HLF4. There’s a metaphor there somewhere, and it’s called Busan, the host city and the world’s fifth largest port. (2011), “Development and Korea: Yes we could”, OECD Observer No 287, Q4

Science and technology in Korea South Korea has experienced remarkable economic growth, with real per capita income increasing about ten-fold between the mid-1950s and today, when it has reached nearly US$10,000. In many industrial sectors, such as semiconductors, electronics, shipbuilding and steel, it ranks among the world leaders. As it stands on the threshold of OECD membership, Korea is determined to be one of the major industrialised nations within a decade. One of the main conditions for meeting that goal is to raise the standard of its technology so that in time it can compete on an equal footing with the most highly advanced economies.


Aubert, Jean-Eric (1996), “Science and technology in Korea”, OECD Observer No 200, June-July Drive your way: Secretary-General Angel Gurría admires Hyundai Motor Company’s shining works in Seoul, Korea, September 2006.

(1992) Technological change in the Korean electronics industry

All articles are available at, except for articles published before 1999, which can be searched on the OECD iLibrary (

ODE TO MY FATHER An impressive 14 million viewers–that’s not far short of a third of Korea’s population–have flocked to see the film, “Ode to My Father”. Taking you back to the outbreak of the Korean War in the 1950s, “Ode to My Father” depicts in vivid imagery the struggles and achievements that have shaped contemporary Korean history. It is told through the life story of one family man, and though a work of fiction, it evokes real historical events as seen through the eyes of ordinary Koreans. The film has been screened at the OECD in Paris during 2016 to mark the country’s 20th anniversary of membership of the organisation, courtesy of the Korean delegation.



OECD Observer No 308 Q4 2016  
OECD Observer No 308 Q4 2016